Since Gwen gave us the option to create a cocktail that "...must contain is the warm and passionate essence of the sun, vibrant ruler of the proud cat," I was thinking about the fruit that most represents the sun to me.
Since local citrus is kind of winter/spring in these parts, that seemed like a tenuous connection to this spoiled California Farmers' Market goer.
On the other hand, peaches, nectarines, and apricots, seem to me like the essence of captured summer sunshine.
From the first time they start appearing at the various vendors, we start tasting them, in their various stages. First they are little tart. Then a little watery. Finally there is that one or two blissful weeks where they are at their peak and you eat a dozen, yellow juice running down your chin. Then the inevitable disappointment as they turn mealy and soft.
The apricot season is so brief, and it seems like there are so few vendors growing them anymore, that some years it seems like we skip a week at the farmer's market, and miss the good ones altogether.
So how excited could I be when I tasted a liqueur that really seemed to capture Apricots at their best?
Well, very excited really.
Rothman and Winter Orchard Apricot* is a new liqueur based on Apricot Eau de Vie blended with Apricot Juice. It is far less sweet than most of the big commercial brands of apricot liqueur, and carries not just the flavor of apricot; but, because it is based on a Apricot Eau de Vie, it also captures the scent of the fruit.
I've struggled finding a place for it in cocktails, as I thought I should treat it with kid gloves, to preserve the delicate flavor of Apricot.
However, I recently read
about a cocktail they are serving at the Flatiron Lounge in New York City called, "The Slope". It is composed of Rye Whiskey, Punt e Mes, and Brizard 'Apry' Apricot liqueur.
Rye Whiskey, Bittered Vermouth, and Apricot liqueur seemed like unlikely bedfellows; but, I figured I'd give it a shot.
I took a snort of the R&W Orchard Apricot, held the scent in my mind, and headed down to the basement to sniff out the appropriate rye.
Happily (or unhappily) the first one I grabbed was the Pikesville Rye. I took one sniff of the opened bottle, and knew I didn't need to go any further. A nice smell similar to yeasty bread combined with hints of cherries and other stone fruit.
I started to think that those folks at Flatiron were onto something.
Back upstairs I cracked some ice cubes, measured out the ratio
eGullet member Nathan had prescribed, and settled down to enjoy.
Oh, yes, this is quite nice. The light sweetness of the apricot liqueur tempered by the bitter of the Punt e Mes. Both meeting together with the Pikesville and not a single element dominating or conflicting.
It's definitely up there with my favorite brown liquor cocktails, like the Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Red Hook. Really, kudos to the folks at Flatiron for seeing the potential of this combination.Theoretical Slope
1 1/2 oz Pikesville Rye
3/4 oz Punt e Mes
3/4 oz Rothman & Winter Orchard Apricot LiqueurStir with ice and strain into cocktail glass.
*Full disclosure, I know Eric Seed the proprietor of Haus Alpenz and importer of Rothman and Winter Orchard Apricot. But, if you can't give your friends a shout out when they do something right... For the record, I don't really like his Walnut liqueur.
**I'm calling it "Theoretical Slope", as Nathan was speculating on the composition of this cocktail without a recipe. It has since come to light
that the actual ingredients of the Flatiron Slope cocktail are: 2 1/2 oz Rittenhouse Rye, 3/4 oz Punt e Mes, 1/4 oz Apry, Dash Angostura bitters. If you're using the Brizard Apry liqueur for this cocktail, I would recommend sticking with those proportions.
edit - ack, I can't believe I used the word "actual" 3 times in one sentence. Added image.
Edited by eje, 13 August 2007 - 10:29 PM.